Patients who use the Lagos State Government owned ‘Eko Telemed’ platform have expressed diverse opinion about the virtual medical consultation service.
Again, healthcare professionals say though the service should be extended beyond the post-COVID-19 pandemic experience, certain structures should be in place in order to make it acceptable to the generality of Nigerians.
Launched on April 22 by the state government through the Lagos State Health Management Agency, the ‘Eko Telemed’ initiative is designed to cater for health issues not related to COVID-19.
According to the General Manager of LASHMA, Dr. Emmanuella Zamba, ‘Eko Telemed’ would increase access to care, reduce the challenge of going to hospitals during this period of restricted movement, except for emergencies.
The General Manager said doctors and case managers are available round the clock everyday of the week to provide medical services to residents for a period of eight weeks.
Speaking with PUNCH HealthWise, the South-West Chairman, Diabetes Association of Nigeria, Abdulwahab Dauda, said he had used the platform and had informed his members to take advantage of it.
“Because of the pandemic, I’ve not been to the hospital and I’ve been having some pain; so, I called them and we talked at length and the doctor prescribed some medication for me.
“I was also called the next day for a check-up. I’ve told some people about it and I will definitely inform my members about it because I know most of them won’t be able to go to the hospital this period,” Dauda said.
Speaking with our correspondent on behalf of the General Manager of LASHWA, Dr. Emmanuella Zamba, Head, Business Development and Marketing for LASHMA, Mr. Rotimi Olatunji, said the platform had been effective and provides services to reduce the number of hospital visits by patients.
“This is part of efforts to protect citizens and reduce their risk of contracting COVID-19; as well as to save health workers from likely infection.
“We have call data and call logs to follow-up on the people, but we do not attend to emergency cases.
“It’s for non-COVID-19 and non-emergency care only because there are some people that need to visit the hospital for thorough care so that physicians can be perfectly sure of their case,” Olatunji explained.
He said the agency receives an average of 600 calls daily on the platform and follows up on people.
“We are thinking of a possible sustainability of the platform beyond the stipulated eight weeks,” he said.